tv PBS News Hour PBS September 26, 2011 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT
good evening. i'm jeffrey brown. >> warner: and i'm margaret warner. on the newshour tonight, we have the latest on europe's debt crisis and the strikes in greece over painful austerity measures. >> brown: then, a switch at the top in russia, as prime minister putin and president medvedev announce plans to swap jobs. we assess the move and its meaning for relations with the u.s. >> warner: from chicago public media, we have a profile of the city's new mayor, rahm emanuel. >> brown: with political editor david chalian, we update the showdown over disaster relief spending, and the prospects of a government shutdown. >> warner: judy woodruff talks to the authors of a new book that explores how a new generation is shaping america. >> they are also highly pragmatic. they work with one another to solve their own problems as a group but also the problems and concerns of society and the nation. >> brown: and from wgbh-boston, special correspondent jared bowen reports on a new interpretation of a great american opera, george
gershwin's "porgy and bess." >> now again there's controversy, this time over changing a classic, for adding dialogue and altering themes to enhance the story. >> brown: that's all ahead on tonight's newshour. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> oil companies have changed my country. >> oil companies can make a difference. >> we have the chance to build the economy. >> create jobs, keep people healthy and improve schools. >> ...and ourur our communities. >> in angola chevron helps train engineers, teachers and farmers, launch child's programs. it's not just good business. >> i'm hopeful about my country's future. >> it's my country's future.
>> moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us. >> and by the bill and melinda gates foundation. dedicated to the idea that all people deserve the chance to live a healthy, productive life. and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> brown: hope replaced fear-- at least for today-- as stocks
rallied on reports that europe will try to fix its financial woes. on wall street, the dow jones industrial average gained 272 points to close at 11,043. the nasdaq rose 33 points to close at 2516. the story was much the same on the other side of the atlantic. ray suarez begins our coverage. >> suarez: european markets were calmer today amid signs of new efforts to stop the debt crisis in greece from damaging the global economy. at the world bank in washington this weekend the u.s. and other major economies pushed for stronger european action. during an appearance in mountain view, california today, president obama spoke about the urgency of the situation. >> they're going through a financial crisis that is scaring the world, and they're trying to take responsible actions. but those actions haven't been quite as quick as they need to be. >> suarez: and today officials at the european central bank
confirmed talks are underway on creating a large, permanent rescue fund. in greece, the front pages of newspapers and the streets of athens were abuzz about the possibility of new health for their hard-pressed country. >> i'm hoping something good will come out of it and they won't allow us to proceed to bankruptcy. >> everything is is gloomy, gloomy. we can only believe things will be okay. >> suarez: all 17 countries in the euro bloc must approve strengthening the debt rescue package before any such plan can be enacted. according to reports today, it will be modeled on the tarp program used in the u.s. after the 2008 financial crisis. the existing european bailout fund totals just under $600 billion. by some accounts, it could be increased to $2 trillion. as things stand without more bailout funding, greece could run out of money by mid october. so the greek government has been imposing more austerity
measures and proposing new taxes to make sure it qualifies for the help. >> i think our european partners, germany particularly, want additional assurances that greece will deliver on its promises as agreed on the 21st of july of this year. while at the same time greece needs to have the comfort that europe will be on time to provide any further installments. >> suarez: but the cutbacks in greece have also sparked new outrage. in athens today, metro, tram and sub urban rail workers held a 24-hour strike. bus and trolley service was halted for several hours. the greek police, faced with personnel cuts, also voiced their frustration. a special guard unit hang a banner on the city's tallest hill that reads "the greek police mourn." tomorrow the greek parliament is set to vote on a key part of the austerity package. it's a new property tax that
would be paid through electricity bills. for the latest from athens, i spoke with freelance reporter john psaropoulos a short time ago. john psaropoulos, welcome. well, the market seemed at least a little encouraged today by potential action, but there in athens you have new demonstrations, new strikes. how disruptive is all that? what does it feel like there? >> there is a constant tension in the air. people are always waiting for the next strike to be announced. it's become a fact of daily life in antens that public transport may not work or may not work fully from one day to the next. people carry on as best they can in their daily lives. the real trouble, the underlying trouble here that does threaten to blow stability in the air literally is the political balance because the government is ruling with the majority of four deputies in the parliament and in the days ahead very difficult legislation is going to be put to them. very unpopular moves like the upcoming vote tomorrow, tuesday, to bring in a new property tax that will charge
every greek household anything between hundreds to thousands of euros every year for the next four years for property they already own. that is a very new idea to the greeks. and following that will come even more difficult legislation. >> brown: so this is all, of course, part of the austerity plan. how much are people feeling that? in what ways? even anecdotally, give us a little flavor. how do people feel that? >> well, you can see the effects of austerity now beginning to bite because measures that were announced last year and earlier this year are now taking effect. there is higher consumer tax, higher gasoline tax. you can see on a retail level shops are closing down. sometimes you walk along the street. there are several properties in a row vacant. when you go to a pet roll station, people are spending maybe 15, 20 euros, not filling up their tanks. b.p. recently ran an ad encouraging people to spend as much as 0 euros on gasoline.
in return, they would get a book of coupons to spend in supermarkets. spending 30 euros. you can see while the ribbons of life are following familiar patterns people are still going out for a drink, for a coffee or evening for an evening meal. they're spending a lot less and feeling the pinch. >> brown: as the debate continues about how and even whether to aid greece there is of course a lot more talk about default perhaps being inevitable. do you get that sense there? are people there beginning to feel that way? >> if a recent opinion poll that ran in last sunday's papers is anything to go by, two-thirds of greeks are against the idea of default. they instinctively mistrust that this is somehow going to bail greece out of the obligation over the long term to pay off its debt. people feel much safer within the bailout plan as it stands, trying to bring in the tax revenues that the country is obliged to bring in under that plan and receiving the bailout installments every two months. people i think are rather terrified of the idea of a
default even within the euro zone and are not convinced that the banking system will not collapse, that theate properties will not be reclaimed and that there won't be widespread unrest in the streets. in such an event. on the contrary, they expect bloodshed in such an event. >> brown: no one wants a default but then you have demonstrations against the austerity measures so is there any consensus formed? you started this by talking about the political problems of the moment. that's what you're referring to, right? >> that's right. people i think want the government to cut its expenses, to reduce its costs, its day-to- day costs, to simply shut down bureaucracy that amounts to waste. people who are not really doing anything in the public sector, shut down, and try and run the government along more northern european lines but not carry the political burden
of doing all of this-- because this is all politically unpopular-- over to the tax payor and ask for the tax payor to pay more and more every couple of months with new excise taxes, property taxes, increased income tax and decreased payouts to pensioners which is what has mainly been going on over the past year because now all of these extra taxes and charges have come to a head. people are living in the reality of these new taxes, down to consumer taxes for everyday goods. at this point they say the government has to step in and cut its costs. >> brown: john psaropoulos in athens, thanks so much. >> thank you. >> warner: still to come on the newshour, the switch at the top in russia; mayor rahm emanuel rolls up his sleeves; the politics of the disaster aid bill; the millennial generation making its mark; and a new adaptation of a classic opera. but first, the other news of the day. here's hari sreenivasan. >> sreenivasan: monsoon rains
left wide sections of india under water today. officials reported at least 48 people have been killed in the north and east. hundreds of thousands more were stranded by the raging water and forced to find shelter in the hills and treetops. the rain was forecast to last at least two more days, delaying rescue efforts. in libya, rebel fighters stepped up their push to conquer moammar qaddafi's hometown. the attempt to take sirte began two weeks ago, but it was turned back by fierce resistance from pro-qaddafi forces. there was more fighting on sunday, as the rebels again drove into the city. and nato continued its air campaign there, hitting eight military targets over the weekend. meanwhile, a u.n. spokesman said hundreds of civilians have been forced to flee the city as food and medicine runs short. >> we're extremely concerned about the protection of civilians and civilian people being caught up in the middle of the conflict regardless of which side is is coming. i think what we have tried to do while we cannot be inside this location at the moment we mobilize humanitarian
assistance, food, medical supplies, to the outskirts of the city. >> sreenivasan: separately, the rebel governing council said sunday that it has found a mass grave holding the bodies of some 1,200 prisoners. they apparently died at the hands of qaddafi's security forces in 1996. some of the famed dead sea scrolls went online today, 2,000 years after they were written. the five most important scrolls are now searchable to anyone under a partnership of google and israel's national museum. users can scroll through the text and instantly translate selected passages into english. approximately 900 dead sea scrolls came to light in the mid-20th century. they have helped shed light on the development of the bible and christianity. the first african woman to win the nobel peace prize, wangari maathai, died sunday night of ovarian cancer. the kenyan environmentalist began her work with the green belt movement, starting in the 1970s. the goal was to reforest the country by paying poor women to plant trees.
maathai spoke to the "newshour" in 2005. >> you are dealing with people who are empowered, who feel that they can make a change in their own lives, within their own environments. you see the resources that they have around them. that's wonderful. that transformation. that feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction, it's wonderful to see happening to other people. >> sreenivasan: wangari maathai won her nobel in 2004. at her death, she was 71 years old. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to margaret. >> warner: next tonight, in the chess game of russian politics, the king comes back out on top. some 1,000 members of the ruling united russia party rose to their feet after their annual congress saturday when president dmitri medvedev delivered the news. >> i think it would be just for the congress to support the candidacy of its leader,
putin, for the post of president of our country. >> warner: his announcement settled a matter of feverish speculation. former russian president putin, currently prime minister, will return to his old job. >> the russian presidential elect will be in the spring of next year. i would like to express my gratitude for your positive reaction to the proposal of my candidacy. to the post of president of the country. this is for me a great honor. >> warner: medvedev is due to become prime minister. putin said they had agreed on this plan several years ago. but not everyone was in agreement. long-time finance minister alexei kudrin today was fired by medvedev in a televised confrontation after criticizing the job swap publicly. in washington state department spokesman mark toner said the obamaed administration remains committed to the recent so- called reset of u.s.-russia relations.
they had deteriorated badly during putin's first two terms when george w. bush was president. >> we believe the reset has been in both of our nation's and indeed the world's best interest. you know, we're going to continue to cooperate with russia in areas where we can cooperate constructively. >> warner: over the last two-and-a-half years, the obama administration hammered out a u.s.-russian arms reduction treaty and worked with moscow on restricting iran and north korea's nuclear programs. the weekend developments come more than a decade after vladimir putin first ascended to the presidency of russia in 2000. he later won a second four-year term. the former kgb officer has publicly projected a strong man image and is popular with many of his countrymen for restoring a sense of order. putin also built a consumer economy, especially in moscow. fueled by oil and gas revenues. but in 200 facing a two-term limit, he stepped aside to become prime minister while
medvedev replaced him as president. opposition figures in russia, including wish often of the people's freedom party said putin-dominated decade has not been good for russia. >> the ruling elite have spent the past ten years getting rich and channeling assets out of the country. that's why the result we see is catastrophic. plane crashes, boat and train accidents. continuing terrorist attacks. this country is not developing and is suffering from corruption. this is the result of putin's rule. >> warner: now the presidential term has been extended to six years. that means that if putin wins next march's election, he has a shot at ruling russia for 12 more years. longer than any leader since joseph stin's 0-year tenure as head of the soviet union's communist party ending in 195. for more on what this means for russia and its relationship with
the u.s., we turn to two longtime russia watchers. angela stent directs the center for eurasian, russian, and east european studies at georgetown university. she formerly served as chief officer for russia and eurasia at the national intelligence council. and dmitri trenin directs the carnegie endowment for international peace's moscow center. his latest book is "post imperium: a eurasian story." welcome to you both. welcome here in moscow. angela stent, beginning with you. what should we make of this changeover? how big a deal is it? >> well it's not a very big deal in the sense that mr. putin has really been in charge of russia even as prime minister as we can now see. but it means we know now that the system he created is is probably going to continue for the next 12 years and that we will be dealing with him as the president of russia in terms of u.s.-russian relations. i think the question will be how will he tackle the economic and the social and the political issues that russia faces as it goes forward?
>> warner: mr. trenin, is this much of a surprise, i mean, given what putin said about we had made this agreement several years ago? >> well it is a surprise and it isn't. it's not a surprise that putin has decided to come back to the kremlin as the president. everyone understood that it was putin's decision to make. he could have reappointed medvedev. he could have decided and in fact he did decide to go back to the kremlin himself. what was interesting and somewhat surprising was the decision by putin to appoint medvedev as the prime minister. i think that many people had not been thinking about that. many people took it by surprise. some people simply rejected the notion of prime minister medvedev. we're talking about the finance minister coudrin who was mentioned in your program just a few minutes ago. >> warner: how different are
the two? did medvedev chart any independent course that is now going to be abandoned? >> medvedev made very eloquent speeches about the need to modernize, the need to get rid of corruption, and the need to have russia move into the 21st century but he really didn't do very much. he never built up his own base of people who were working with him. he was working mainly with putin. i don't really think there is that much difference between the two of them. >> warner: i mean, why would coudrin not want to work with him? >> because they've had differences of opinions about economic policies. he wants to spend more government money. mr. coudrin is a fiscal conservative and is very well regarded in the u.s. and russia. >> warner: what difference if any will this make and mean for u.s.-rush a relations, the obama administration which invested so much in cultivating a relationship with medvedev. >> i think that although the obama administration invested
in medvedev as president, they always kept at the back of their mind the notion that the top man in russia was mr. putin. >> warner: the power behind the throne. >> the power behind and above the throne. >> warner: above? >> right. it may be fun to be president or more fun to have the president work for you. the obama administration had to deal with medvedev and with putin in some other ways. now this has become a more streamlined more straightforward. the only problem is that mr. putin, rather than mr. medvedev, will be the official partner of the united states' president. that is important because in part the reset was successful because the name of the russian president was not putin. putin is now back. some people have to rethink what that means and how to address putin now in his
capacity as not only the informal butal the formal leader of the russian federation. >> warner: angela stent, pick up on that in terms of how much business really was done between the u.s. and russia in the medvedev time? i mentioned a couple of things. and would putin continue to go down that path or do you think there may be a difference? >> well, i think we and the russians have common interests. we've managed to work on these since president obama and president medvedev were in office. you mentioned those. we have a new arms control agreement, cooperation on iran and the most important thing for the u.s. now is the cooperation on afghanistan. the more problematic pakistan becomes-- and of course you've reported very interestingly from there-- the more of russia is important in terms of transporting military and other supplies to afghanistan. and the russians also have an interest in seeing that we don't fail in afghanistan and leave too quickly. having said that, the easy parts of this reset have been done. the next set of issues are more complicated. they have to do with more arms
control. we have to do with cooperation which is problematic and with issues like iran. and i think the other thing to remember is that in the u.s.-russian relationship in the last 20 years the relationship between the leaders is important because we don't have that many stakeholders. there's not that much depth to that relationship yet. and therefore it will be important for president obama and president putin to be... to develop a workable, close... a workable relationship at least. they've met once in july of 2009. that was a tough meeting. so i think that who occupies the chair in the kremlin is important. i think we can still cooperate but it's not to be quite as easy as it's been in the last three years. >> warner: what is the buzz you hear in moscow about the obama-putin relationship, angela stent just said they only had one huge meeting which was the one when president obama went to russia
on that summit trip? >> i think the meeting itself was as she described it. >> warner: as i recall, putin basically hare anded president obama about the litany of.... >> that is one way of putting that. he basically told obama what was on his mind. he basically told obama that he and russia had certain complaints. he and russia had certain views that collided with the views at least of the previous administration in the u.s. obama took that calmly. he took that on board. i think that putin was satisfied by that. i think that that was a test for the reset in putin's eyes. in putin's eyes, obama had passed that test. medvedev was given the go-ahead to continue. >> warner: you were part of a group that met with then prime minister medvedev. >> last september a group of
us met with mr. putin. he had some very complimentary things to say about president obama. the previous year when our group had met with him, he was somewhat more skeptical about obama. but last year he was very complimentary. that already led, i think some of us to believe that maybe he was looking to his return as president and to having a better relationship with president obama, including saying that they had both been under unfair criticism from their populations for things that had happened that really weren't their fault. >> warner: is it fair to say briefly that president-to-be putin is a bit more of a hard- liner even than medvedev for things like the missile defense system that the u.s. would like to help nato build against iranian missiles? >> i think we need to be under no illusion that all the major decisions in russia have been taken by putin or with putin's support. and also putin has a reputation of a hard-liner which makes it easier for him.
to push through some hard decisions. and that may be a boon for u.s.-russian relations in the future. >> warner: i'm sure we'll all hope you're both right. thank you both so much. >> thank you. >> brown: now, a portrait of the mayor in progress. rahm emanuel was a senior advisor to president clinton, served three terms in the house of representatives, and then white house chief of staff to president obama. but late last year he left the white house and washington to launch a successful bid for mayor of chicago. eddie arruza of public station wttw prepared this update. >> reporter: in his first 100 days as mayor of chicago, rahm emanuel lived up to his reputation. that of being tireless, demanding, and in control. he's taken on the chicago public school system.... >> teachers will be on a
performance-pay system. principals will be on a performance-pay system. >> reporter:... ordered chicago cops on desk duty to hit the streets.... >> we do that to bring a level of safety on our communities that have not had it. >> reporter:... and put city workers on notice. >> the effort here is to make sure that everybody knows who we work for and who we're accountable to. which is the residents of the city of chicago and the tax payers. >> reporter: by his 99th day in office the mayor was boasting of having completed or set in motion dozens of initiatives. everything from posting the city budget online to making bike lanes safer. even some independent-minded chicago city council members acknowledged that the new mayor is, if nothing else, determined. >> he's got great stamina and staying power in terms of just staying on top of things and dealing with emergencies. >> reporter: but everyone who is keeping a close eye on chicago's new mayor agrees on
one thing. his far more difficult 100 days are ahead. like most other big-city mayors, emmanuel is facing a looming budget deficit. in his case $650 million. the challenge he confronts is how to reduce it without violating his campaign pledge not to raise taxes. y resort to one-time only fixes. the president of the civics federation, a fiscal watchdog group that monitors both the city and state budgets. he says the financial decisions confronting emmanuel are daunting. >> it is not going to be an easy 60 to 90 days. it will not be an easy 2 to 3 years of this administration. however, if he doesn't get a handle on the city's finances, if he isn't able to show that he can manage in this very difficult situation, it's unlikely that his priorities of education and public safety will be able to be met in the future. >> reporter: rahm emanuel has had a lot of practice in making tough decisions or at
least in advising others about tough decisions. when former chicago mayor richard daily announced last year he would not run for re-election, emmanuel left the white house to pursue what he said was his political dream. he had the money, the backing, and the determination to surmount a tough challenge to his residency. under mayor richard daly, the city council was often criticized as a rubber stamp. the new mayor says he wants the all democrat 50-member council, one-third of whom came into office with him, to be partners in decision-making. alderman scott wagsback has been an independent and sometimes opposition voice in the city council. he says he's not ready to say if the new mayor is on the right track. >> you know, you can't come in and change everything overnight. 100 days is virtually nothing. i mean, i would like to see, you know, a year from now what serious changes have been made. in 100 days you can do a lot of small things to kind of get the ship in what we would
consider the right direction. i think that they're slowly turning it in a way that is good. >> reporter: moving chicago in the right direction is mayory man you'll's stated goal but he has another... that of making chicago a national example for how to transform big city government in the 1st century. he's doing that by making the public sector look more like the private sector. he's pushing unions to change long accepted work rules. in july the city sent lay-off notices to 625 workers after unions failed to make concessions the new mayor wanted. it was a blow to the chicago federation of labor, an umbrella group for dozens of unions. but the federation's president is not giving up on a good relationship with the new mayor. >> look, i have to believe that is going to work with us and partner with us because that's what he's told us. until he proves otherwise i think we have to go and push as hard as we can into that belief to make sure that hopefully something will come of it. that's what we're trying to do now.
>> reporter: but the new mayor is firm that unions must make changes. >> i don't think people should be paid double time for overtime rather than time-and-a-half. these are industry standards. or 40 hours rather than 35 hours as if it's 40 hours. that would save a little over $3 million and 200 people would not get the pink slip. i think making those reforms are the right choices for the tax payors and the work hes. i'd like organized labor and their leadership to be a partner in that. >> reporter: emmanuel's choice to be chicago's top cop is gary mccarthy the former newark new jersey police chief who is credit for carrying out a major overhaul of that force. the new mayor wants him to do the same in the windy city although the challenges may be greater. >> the chicago police department has more players of management than the city of new york's police department. it has more layers of management than the city of houston's police department. that's an area that the city can attack the management side. the added cost and the layering that occurs in large bureaucracies, and not impact the number of policemen on the
street. we think there are many areas of that in government that can be addressed. >> reporter: the new head of the beleaguered chicago public schools is another outsider. jean claude blizzard. he was superintendent of the rochester, new york, school system where he had a rocky tenure. he and his newly appointed school board have already approved a property tax increase to try to close a $700 million school budget shortfall. and he and the new mayor are pushing for, among other things, longer school days and some concessions from teachers that's led to an ongoing stand- off with their union. craig dell a more is the political reporter for news radio 780 in chicago. >> he is making moves that the former mayor did not make to the same degree. of going up against the labor unions, of... and in some cases trying to work out partnerships with them but' in the case of the teachers union definitely that's an adversarial relationship at least at this point. >> reporter: but whether mayor
rahm emanuel is a breath of fresh air or a continuation of the chicago political machine is up for debate. the mayor could face a lot more pushback from the city council when he unveils his first budget around mid october. it will likely contain extensive cuts and how the aldermen respond could determine whether emmanuel's ambitious agenda will move ahead quickly or at all. >> brown: and to another political update, this one back here in washington, where the democratic-controlled senate and the republican-controlled house remain at odds over a funding bill intended to keep the government operating through november 18. newshour political editor david chalian is here with the latest. so, headline crisis averted for now. >> crisis averted for now. that's exactly right, jeff. this friday the funding... the end of the fiscal year arrives.
there is nothing in place as the beginning of the next fiscal year was to get started on saturday. what they're doing is funding the government for a short term, until november 18, in order to work out all the negotiations for how they want to fund everything for the rest of the year. what was keeping the sort of tied up in knots was the disaster aid for fema funding because fema, the federal emergency management agency, wasn't sure that it was going to be able to make it through this week. >> brown: this is after a very tough summer of natural disasters around the country. >> all around the country. floods, tornadoes, hurricanes. so, of course, that plays very tough politically for a lot of folks to play around with disaster funding because nobody likes to be seen as not on the side of people who are in pain and need aid. >> brown: but it came down to not so much, nobody is against the aid, right? it was over how to pay for the aid. >> precisely as everything in washington is these days, about spending. and too much government spending. so, you're right. nobody wanted to look on the
side and nobody was against the aid. every bill, house republican bill, senate democratic bill that had been going back and forth for the last couple of weeks had lots of aid funding in there. the house republicans last week passed a bill that said to get fema through the rest of fiscal year 2011 that we are going to provide them more money. that needs to be offset by spending cuts elsewhere. the democrats said no. the country cannot be in a place where you can't predict disasters. you never know when somebody is going to need disaster aid. you can't have a debate about what to cut elsewhere at a time when people need immediate aid. they said there should not be offsets when we're talking about disaster aid. it has not been the norm in the country for there to be such an offset. >> brown: that happened and suddenly there was an impasse. was everybody surpriseded? i mean suddenly there was again the question of government shutdown. >> well, nobody wanted a shutdown to come. they knew, people on both
sides on capitol hill said at all costs they were going to avert it because they understand how angry the public is. what happened today to ease the path to avoid the shutdown is fema announced they actually had enough money to get through this week. for once they said they had enough money to get through this week, the whole battle of offsetting costs to extend their funding for this week disappeared. nobody was fighting about the money that was starting to be spent this coming saturday. that's where there was agreement so now the senate will pass this bill. the house will have to pass the identical measure and they will be able to avert the shutdown but the politics of this, jeff, would have been disastrous for members of congress to get up to the deadline again. another clock on cable news channel counting down to a shutdown. it would rattle the markets. it would bring wrath from the voters who clearly have said.... >> brown: and if they needed anymore evidence there was yet another poll today. >> another poll from gallup this morning saying that people feel the government is more incompetent than ever. they are angrier at their government than they've ever been.
so they're not immune to this, these members of congress. they see this and they understand it. it's why we've heard a new tone in washington. as soon as it started getting to this idea of countdown to the shutdown or shutdown showdown, i think everyone, democrats and republicans alike, were looking very quickly for a path out. fema provided one. >> brown: because looming out there are much, much bigger issues. >> much bigger issues, long-term issues for the next ten years about our fiscal situation. >> brown: david chalian, thanks again. >> sure. my pleasure. >> warner: now, young people coming of age and reshaping american life and culture. judy woodruff has our book conversation. >> woodruff: how much can one generation tell us about the direction of the country? a lot, according to a new book. millenial momentum, how a new generation is remaking america examines the way in ways in which young people are changing the way americans learn, work, vote and even
entertain themselves. i'm joined now by its co-authors. there are... i talked to them in 2008 about their first book that was focused on this particular generation millenial makeover, my space, you-tube and the future of american politics. thank you both for being here and welcome back. >> delightful to be back. >> wonderful. >> woodruff: i think i already know the answer to this question but, moraly, let's just put it out there. why is it so important to focus on this generation? >> as you were one of the first to say with generation next story, this is is the largest generation in american history. there's 95 million millenials born between 1982 and 2003. they are all becoming adults. they will be a major impact on our politics. but also on all of the institutions of america. they're the most diverse generation in american history and their unified beliefs are going to change the way america thinks. >> woodruff: other than diversity, how are they
different in ways that are relevant for what we're talking about? >> they are different because, unlike earlier generations, they are oriented toward one another, toward the group, towards society. they are not driven by individual desires or individual values. it's true they have strong, passionate beliefs but they are highly pragmatic. they work with one another to solve their own problems as a group but also the problems of society and the nation. >> woodruff: what you write about in this book is how this generation will be remaking america what are some of the important things you see them doing to change the direction of this country? >> the most important thing is this generation's ability to generate change from the bottom up. and to do so with individual action at the local level. they are absolutely committed to improving the country and perfectly happy with the country setting goals and laying out ambitions of what
it wants to accomplish. but when it comes to actually doing those things, millen yells will provide the same kind of disruptive energy that we saw in the napster revolution of the music industry. this is a generation that is going to shake up every institution that thinks it will be run top down. >> woodruff: what do you see? >> well, in all sorts of areas, in entertainment, for example, the style and tone of american entertainment is going to change from kind of the harsh rap-oriented type of music that we're used to to a softer but much more optimistic kind of music. in sports, we are going to see a generation that's going to change from kind of the individualism of, say, a barry bonds to the team play of a dustin pedroia in baseball. >> woodruff: what about in terms of the workplace? >> in the workplace they present enormous challenge for
those who think that this is a place where you control what happens and you supervise closely. they're interested in opening up corporate life, in involving their friends and those decisions whether they work for the company or not. they're not about to respect authority or command-and-control in the workplace any more than they do in other parts of their life. so this generation is already creating great challenges but also bringing great energy to the work force. >> woodruff: we are, of course, in a major economic disruption right now. in this country. we've come out of a recession but times are tough. high unemployment. how does this generation see the role of government and how do you see them handling ordealing with high unemployment, just a tough economy? >> first of all with regard to government, they certainly see a role, a major role for government. they believe very strongly, a majority of millen yells
believe, for example, in a government that provides important services, that is not withdrawn from the economic system. but they don't see government providing big, huge bureaucracies. rather, they see government almost as a parent providing guidance, overall policies which as millenyells they will work with one another more at the local level to figure out a way of implementing those policies. government provides guidelines. it may provide resources but millenyells will work with one another at the local level to implement those policies. >> woodruff: quickly remind us how you can be confident of these observations. i know you did a lot of research, a lot of polling. what makes you think you're right? >> well we did a lot of survey research. we had cooperation from your friends at pew as well as mike's former company. but the generational cycles that we have used to predict the outcome of the 2008 election when we wrote a book in 2007 are just as applicable
to how they change society. every 80 years, we have this enormous debate, one we're in the middle of right now, that tears the country apart about what kind of government we should have, what civic ethos we should have. in every case from the revolutionary war to the civil war to the new deal this kind of generation has come along and provided the country the directional guidance it needs. amongst this generation we're going to see people as powerful in their adulthood as the founding fathers, some of our founding fathers and members of the g.i.generation. >> woodruff: that's quite a prediction. in my case, what about voting behavior and their view of politics? we know this generation went overwhelmingly for the democrat, barack obama in 2008. what does it look like they're thinking now? >> they are still leaning democratic. maybe not quite as strongly this time as they did in 2008. but the most recent pew party identification numbers still show a majority of them about
52% identifying with democrats and 39% identifying as republicans. they tend to have liberal beliefs on economic issues, on social issues, on issues relate to go race relations and ethnicity. so... and they still very much like barack obama. they are very favorable attitudes towards him and more positive about his job performance than are other generations. i would count them in the democratic coalition but they still must be asked by the democrats and the president to support him. >> they should be asked because they're one out of every four voters in 2012. >> woodruff: traditionally politicians have not wlooked to the younger voters because they don't vote. >> hopefully they learned their lesson in 2008. the turnout among this generation was tremendous. there were as many of them voting as senior citizens. that was before so many more of them turned 18. >> woodruff: we know that republicans also observed what happened in 2008.
they seem to be trying to go after.... >> you've seen people like margaret hoover and senator mccain's daughter talk about the republicans need to address the generation but both of them have warned their party that they cannot take the rigid intolerant social issue positions they do and still win millenyell votes. >> woodruff: the last question to the two of you, why are you so passionate about this question of the younger generation? three of us sitting around this table with all due respect to the two of you, we're not in that generation. what drives your interest? >> well, we are americans. we have optimism and confidence in our country. quite frankly we believe this generation is going to-- because it does work together and is optimistic-- it going to solve and get us past some of the problems that perhaps older generations have left for them and for us. >> we are passionate about it because we believe that the current leadership the
generation is providing leadership in washington in particular do not understand the future like this generation does and are unwilling to compromise in order to accomplish what this country needs to do. so we're passionate about the generation so that older folks will get out of the way and let these folks take over and provide guidance. >> woodruff: you see them as willing to compromise? >> absolutely. pragmatic and idealistic at the same time. very support of compromise to get something done in the survey research we did. >> woodruff: i know some people listening to that will take heart. >> we bring a message of hope. >> woodruff: i know many people will take heart in hearing that. thank you very much. the book is millen yell momentum. we appreciate it. >> thank you for having us. >> thank you. >> brown: finally tonight, a new interpretation of a classic opera, currently in a pre- broadway run in cambridge,
massachusetts. our story comes from pbs station wgbh in boston. the reporter is jared bowen. >> reporter: porgy and bess, much like the tale of tortured romance it tells it has been vitally tossed by storms during its 76-year history, caught in tempests over creative license and charges of racism. now there is controversy once again. as the american repertoire theater in cambridge, massachusetts, stages a new adaptation. ♪ you is my woman now ♪ you is, you is, and you must laugh and sing and dance for two ♪ > the show is set in catfish row, a fictionaled enclave of charles town south carolina where drugs and violence are pervasive. it's after a murder that the drug-addaled bess that lands in the arm of the beggar porgy. this view of african-american life in the 1930s came from
the show's white creators. david allen greer plays a drug dealer. >> it was a different time. you know, the outlet for black intellectuals to tell our story was different. >> reporter: from the moment george gerish win chose to adopt the novel porgy into an opera there's been controversy. controversy that he dared to create anything but popular music, that he dare write music solely for african- american performers at a time when much of the country was segregated and that he presumed to be able to tell the story of a black community. audra macdonald plays bess. >> when people say is porgy and bess racist, i say no just because i really feel that he had the best intentions when he wrote it. he wanted to get in and be inside of a community, show their wants, their desires, their hopes, their dreams, their fears. >> reporter: when it debuted at boston's colonial theater
in september 195 and premiered on broadway shortly after, porgy and bess was unyated with pointed stereotypes and grossly derogatory terms. adapting the opera today for the a.r.t.musical, this pulitzer prize winning playwright susan laurie parks. >> it's a racist show. i can make it politically correct. not at all. it's a show with some dramatic holes. some missteps dramatically. i have to flush out the characters and make it right. ♪ for you and me in new york ♪ >> from the very beginning, we were setting out to make sure that this is about people and their struggles and their story and really focusing on the dramatic story as opposed to look at all those black people up there. boy, they sing well. they get passionate. and they drink the whiskey. whatever.
so i don't feel like i've had to stress about that in any way. ♪ that stuff costs money > some of the original opera scenes were too stereotypical for parks. >> a large woman with a hand on the hip doing that. you know, the aunt jemima type kind of thing and then the cowering, well dressed dandy. oh, i'm scared. the dandy and the mammy. i don't know any street character who would take this kind of crap from anybody. instead of a mammy moment i made a mommy moment in which i said, how can this moment work? in the real world? i thought, oh, she knows his mother. any tough guy we know, all tough guys, if you start saying, hey, i know your mother and i'm going to tell on you, they're like, ah, come on, don't be telling my mama. ♪ i hate your guts > the a.r.t.says it was the
gerish win estate that invited changing when it hand picked the artistic creator to create a musical from the opera. >> to make it into a musical it's about breathing, stopping, letting air come in. letting silence play a role. and also letting there be dialogue. >> look at that smile you got. >> what you been up to? >> nothing. >> sometimes i need to add words. sometimes whole new scenes. sometimes take an old scene and turn it insideout and make it new ♪ i got plenty of nothing ♪ and nothing's plenty for me ♪ > but it's these types of changes that have riled some like stephen sondheim who delivered criticism in august when learning of the changes but without having seen the show he wrots the "new york times" there is a difference between reinterpretation and wholesale rewriting. advertise it honestly as diane pauliss's porgy and bess and to hell with the real one. >>.
>> the purist, i mean, they have their rights. if that's how they want to spend their energy. it's such a great opera. if they want to see it in their purest state, like if they want to see shakespeare done in the globe with bear baiting and people who haven't bathed recently and all men on stage, they can, you know, i'm sure there are places that will provide that opportunity for them. >> i've never done shakespeare in 30 years where they didn't cut, snip, change this, get rid of that. hamlet's speech is too long. you know, let's do this. that's just gibson, check often, everybody. >> reporter: in its storied history porgy and bess has evolved since its opening night in boston. it's gone from opera to film to the musical. after the boston debut, gerish win immediately cut 45 minutes from the show. two years later after george's untimely death, ira also made changes. >> there were things that were still in motion, not to say that the work we have from
gerbe win isn't a master piece. it is. but there was was potential in there that was being wrestled with. people have been trying to put it in a box all these years. it's an opera. it's a musical. i think it just continues to kind of defy and sort of it's like this big, large squid that just keeps plopping out. you're like, no, i'm all of these things. >> reporter: most notably it's an american story that continues to resonate and provoke. >> warner: again, the major developments of the day. global markets rallied on hopes that european leaders will rescue greece from default. the dow jones industrials gained more than 270 points. rebels in libya staged a new assault on moammar qaddafi's home city of sirte. the u.s. senate moved towards spiking a deal on a short term
funding deal that would keep the government operating until mid november. and to hari sreenivasan, for what's on the newshour online. hari? >> sreenivasan: a new rapid test kit for h.i.v. could stem the drop-out rate for patients who need treatment. and it could encourage early, more effective therapy. that's on our global health page. the morning line looks at president obama's three-day western fund-raising swing as he takes aim against potential g.o.p. rivals. and we remember wangari maathai. in a 2005 conversation with jeff, she talked about conservation, human rights, and government transparency. all that and more is on our web site, newshour.pbs.org. >> brown: and again, to our honor roll of american service personnel killed in the iraq and afghanistan conflicts. we add them as their deaths are made official and photographs become available. here, in silence, are eight more.
we'll see you online, and again here tomorrow evening. thank you and good night. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: chevron. we may have more in common than you think. and by bnsf railway. and by the alfred p. sloan foundation. supporting science, technology, and improved economic performance and financial literacy in the 21st century. and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.